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Economic policies and overconsumption are chief causes of climate change, say Canadian Nobel scientists - 14 January 2008

(Toronto) A group of Canadian climate change scientists and experts are warning that governments must address the root causes of climate change, and not rely on “technological fixes.”

In their statement "The Wasan Action Framework," released today, the scientists fault policies that pursue economic growth “for its own sake,” and the large per capita overconsumption of natural resources in the industrialized countries.

The statement’s twenty-seven endorsers include two Canadian members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Price jointly with former U.S. vice-president Al Gore.

“In the long run, we need to focus on sustainable levels of consumption, which means finding ways to rein in our currently insatiable demand for more and more,” said Professor Danny Harvey of the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto, who served as lead author of the latest IPCC assessment report.

The scientists also cast doubt on the reliance upon nuclear power and large-scale biofuels to prevent climate change. “It is no secret that humankind is already struggling to eliminate hunger and the loss of biodiversity,” said Ryerson University Professor Emeritus of Physics Helmut Burkhardt. “To take land away from food production and from rainforests is, in a global perspective, not an option.”

The Wasan Action Framework urges governments and international bodies to curb overconsumption, promote lower global birth rates through women’s education and empowerment, focus on low-impact renewable energy sources, reduce carbon emissions and preserve forests.

The Wasan Action Framework was developed September 13 to 16, 2007, at a meeting of the scientists and experts on Wasan Island, Ontario. The project was sponsored by Science for Peace, David Suzuki Foundation and Breuninger Foundation.

 

Contact:

Prof. Danny Harvey, Department of Geography at the University of Toronto and member of the IPCC, co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize
h.o. 416 778-0670, o. 416 978 1588 (until 2:30 PM today) e. harvey@geog.utoronto.ca

Prof. Helmut Burkhardt (Emeritus), Department of Physics, Ryerson University
h. 416 694-8385, e. h.burkhardt@rogers.com

Prof. Derek Paul (Emeritus), Science for Peace
t. 416 532-6440, e. farp@sympatico.ca